V-C Miscellany, November 1993

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The Brooklands Museum Trust has a new idea for raising finance; which revives the thought that the Government or British Heritage or someone should long ago have saved the World’s first motor course from destruction. When H F Locke King built Brooklands at his own expense in 1906/7, he provided right from the start 75 covered bays in the Paddock for the shelter of racing cars and their owners. These historic shelters were destroyed in the 1950s and 1960s. Now the Museum Trust has the idea of erecting replicas of them, putting up a series of 25 or 30, and is looking for donations of £500 per bay to cover the expense of putting up, as a start, 20 of these simple structures, adjacent to the refurbished Press Office, for which the Daily Mail found the money.

Those who buy a bay would have their names inscribed above it, but the scheme also provides for renting advertising space thereon. In addition, it would reserve the new bays on non-event days for use by members of the Museum Trust and Brooklands Club — no provision apparently for members of the Brooklands Society which pre-dates both organisations. Quite how this would be achieved with other club members and their cars using the Paddock area I cannot visualise. But good luck, I say. What did appeal to me was the photograph used to advertise this new project. It shows the two twin-cam 3-litre sports Sunbeams that ran in the 1927 Essex MC Six Hour Race at the Track, with their drivers, George Duller in No. 4, Segrave in the other car. Duller covered the greatest distance, 386 miles at 64.3 mph, but Segrave ran out of fuel, some said deliberately, from boredom. Both the Sunbeams had run with touring-type mudguards and running boards, instead of the more usual cycle-type front wings, and the same applied to Skelton’s privately-entered twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam in the same race in 1928. Perhaps it was thought in 1927 that six hours on Brooklands would have shaken off the standard cycle-wings and maybe Skelton had one of the 1927 works cars for the next year’s race, or had been similarly advised to use touring mudguards, which anyway he did. Whatever, I recall going to the 1928 race, aged 15, and being very worried because I thought from this that the Sunbeam might be a push-rod 20/60 and a poor match for the Bentleys.

I was reassured to find that Skelton was driving a twin-cam 3-litre, but in the end the 4 1/2-litre Bentleys finished in the first three places, Birkin’s averaging 72.27 mph. But Skelton in his touring-looking Sunbeam finished third in his class, behind an Alfa Romeo and an Austro-Daimler, having averaged 59.37 mph for the half-around of the clock.

First prizes in the Sunbeam MCC’s 10th Welsh-Week Run went to a 1912 Ariel, a 1927 Brough Superior and a 1927 Morgan three wheeler.

W B